Gujarat HC stays arrest of mass grave accused | india | Hindustan Times
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Gujarat HC stays arrest of mass grave accused

The Gujarat High Court on Friday stayed the non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued against six of the accused involved in digging the mass graves.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 08:16 IST

The Gujarat High Court on Friday stayed the non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued against six of the accused involved in digging the mass grave of victims of the post-Godhra violence in Panchmahals district.

A single judge bench of Justice AS Dave directed the police not to arrest any of the accused.

A judicial magistrate had issued NBWs against five of the relatives of the riot victims and human rights activist Raees Khan for not appearing before the court.

However, human rights group Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) approached the high court later and pleaded that the accused were present in the court and yet police issued NBWs against them.

CJP member and human rights activist, Teesta Setalvad, welcomed the Friday's court order saying it was "satisfactory".

In December 2005, some of the relatives of the victims had dug out a mass grave near the bed of the river Panam in Lunawada town, about 140 km from Ahmedabad. Police then filed a case against 11 people, including social activist Raees Khan.

Following the digging of the grave, activists and relatives of the victims alleged that the state administration had hidden the bodies there without conducting post-mortem.

The administration, however, maintained that the bodies were buried in accordance with legal procedures followed for unclaimed bodies. Police then filed a complaint against those who dug up the grave on charges of tampering with evidence.

A trial was also on in the Gujarat High Court that has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to establish the identity of the deceased through DNA tests.

It is believed that those killed in a major communal clash in Pandarwada village were buried in the mass grave in 2002.

The village is close to Godhra where a train burning incident on Feb 27, 2002, led to state-wide communal violence that claimed at least 1,000 lives.